So on Wednesday I got to see Donavon Frankenreiter at the one and only Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The venue itself has undergone plenty of renovations in the past few years, so the House That Bruce Built is looking better than ever (too bad the rest of the town is still gross). After opener Mishka wooed the crowd with just an acoustic guitar, Donavon and his band took the stage while “Glory Days” blasted over the PA and the enthusiastic crowd went wild.
Needles to say, everyone was quite excited to hear a set from the the worldly troubadour. He came out sporting a cowboy hat, a moustache (that makes almost all other men tremble), and an acoustic guitar that let him launch straight into a few songs from his second album. I hate his second album. Well, not hate, but it’s definitely my least favorite, with its disco string arrangements, classic rock solos, and overused Dylan-esque organs overwhelming every song. You can guess that I was very much relieved when he started going back to the sounds from his first and third album, as those are much more in the typical Jack Johnson fare that he is known for.
Still, I never would have guessed he’d be so jammy on stage. His band couldn’t seem to let a song go, and had a tendency to ramble on and on. This wasn’t a terrible thing, though, and the better songs sounded just as good with extended choruses than without. Being a “with open arms” kinda guy, he had no problem passing the mic to audience members to have them sing a few lines here and there. This was cool for one song, but for three of his hits, it got tired (the cat screeching girls on the mic didn’t help anything). The songs held themselves up in the end, and the crowd was happy to eat out of his hand by the encore.
All in all, it was a good show, but the extended trip to Hawaii, where he played songs from his first album with “Hawaiian” instruments, cost some points on top of everything above. It’s cool that he likes to try new things, but not constantly, and especially not when the audience can’t tell what song you’re playing because even the melody is different…
Rating: 3/5 stars
Here’s one of his singles because you were nice and read this…
Go bro out and buy some stuff from the myspaces!